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signpost 04-23-2012 06:13 AM

Belgian something or another
Well, I've been messing around with this recipe. Here's where I'm at right now. I'm pretty sure I'm making this more complicated than it needs to be. Also, this has basically turned into more of a BIAB, instead of a the typical extract w/ specialty grains type that I've brewed so far. Based on what I've read about the Wyeast Belgian Ardennes yeast, it might attenuate down a bit further than what Hopville calculated. So, if might be well above 9% by the time it's done.

One thing I'm wondering about this recipe is whether I should do a 'bulk aging' or just age it in the bottles for a good long while. I'm looking to possibly do this brew in early August and aim to have it ready to drink by Christmas time. Is that enough time for a beer this big to be ready?

44% 6 0 Northern Brewer Amber Malt Syrup 36 10 ~
15% 2 0 Belgian Pale 37 3 ~
11% 1 8 Belgian CaraVienne 34 21 ~
11% 1 8 Belgian CaraMunich 33 47 ~
7% 1 0 Belgian Candi Syrup A 36 45 ~
7% 1 0 Corn Sugar (Dextrose) 46 0 ~
4% 0 8 Belgian Special B 30 170 ~

Batch size: 5.0 gallons

Original Gravity
1.088 / 21.1 Plato
(1.079 to 1.092)

Final Gravity
1.023 / 5.8 Plato
(1.020 to 1.025)

25 SRM / 49 EBC
(Brown to Dark Brown)

Mash Efficiency

boil 60 mins 1.0 Sterling pellet 6.3
boil 45 mins 0.5 Sterling leaf 6.3
boil 30 mins 0.5 Mt. Rainier pellet 6.8
boil 20 mins 0.5 Mt. Hood pellet 6.0
boil 15 mins 0.5 Mt. Rainier pellet 6.8
boil 10 mins 0.5 Sterling pellet 6.3
boil 5 mins 0.5 Mt. Hood pellet 6.0
dry hop 7 days 1.0 Citra pellet 11.0

Boil: 3.5 avg gallons for 60 minutes

Bitterness - 32.2 IBU / 9 HBU

Wyeast Belgian Ardennes (3522)

Alcohol 8.7% ABV / 7% ABW
Calories 291 per 12 oz.

Guden 04-23-2012 08:42 AM

Mostly looks pretty good. One thing I would change is to limit the types of hops by cutting the citra dry hops as these are fairly different from the boil hops and you already have three types going on. That's also a whole lot of caramel malt, I would cut out a pound of both the caravienne and caramunich.

meadowstream 04-23-2012 09:27 AM

+1 on cutting back on cara. Would probably choose to bottle after 3-4 weeks and let sit for 8 weeks.

signpost 04-23-2012 01:14 PM

Yeah, I went a little overboard on the Cara malt. Would it be better to eliminate one of them completely? Or just cut back on both? I'm definitely interested in layering for a more complex flavor profile, but I wasn't completely sure it made sense to go with both of those grains.

TyTanium 04-23-2012 01:40 PM

NB Amber LME contains Pale Malt and C60, so you already have quite a bit of maltiness there. And I'm not sure on the fermentability of that stuff, but I'd guess it finishes higher than you may want. If it were me, I'd use a lighter extract (Pilsner?) and keep ~8oz of the Cara malts - I prefer the complexity of those vs C60.

Good yeast choice. I'd count on it finishing below 1020.

signpost 04-25-2012 01:08 PM

I just checked out this website: http://www.yeastcalc.com/

According to their calculations, I would need to do about a 2.5 Liter starter with an OG of 1.037 to get enough yeast growth for this recipe. I used the option of intermittent shaking, because I don't have a stir plate. Does that seem about right?

That is based on reducing each of the Cara malts to 1 lbs instead of the 1.5 lbs. listed above.

meadowstream 04-25-2012 02:31 PM

Can you just use a smack pack instead of 2.5l starter w/o stir plate? Only 5 gallons...?

TyTanium 04-25-2012 02:39 PM


Originally Posted by meadowstream (Post 4027879)
Can you just use a smack pack instead of 2.5l starter w/o stir plate? Only 5 gallons...?

Big difference in cell count there...

dbhokie 04-25-2012 02:46 PM

You could do a 1L starter, cold crash, decant, and step up to a 1.5, and that will give you the pitch rate you need, or a 2

signpost 04-26-2012 02:35 AM

I've actually never done a starter yet, so I appreciate the suggestion. How long would the 2-step starter take, in comparison to a bigger initial starter?

And yeah, I used the Brew Pal app, and it says the batch should use almost 300 billion cells for optimal pitching. And a smack pack only has 100 billion. So, I'm pretty sure I want to give the starter a try for this batch. I'm moving in the next couple months, so I won't be brewing this until at least the end of July.

One thing I'm wondering about is the aging process. With this being such a big beer, I'm guessing it would be good to age it a bit. Would it be good to do some bulk aging for a while? If so, could I hold off on the dry hopping until it's already aged for a month or so? That way the hop aroma wouldn't diminish as much, right?

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